The pandemic is giving an unexpected jolt to Fort Worth golf courses

Published on February 03, 2021

Rockwood Park Golf Course

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Fort Worth’s municipal golf courses are seeing heightened demand as stir-crazy residents grow more eager to get out of the house and tee it up.

All three of Fort Worth’s courses – Meadowbrook, Pecan Valley and Rockwood Park – have stayed open during the pandemic, which is a feat unto itself. “I have heard the National Golf Foundation estimated only 25% of the courses in the country could say that,” said Dave Lewis, assistant director for golf and athletics in the Fort Worth Park & Recreation Department.

The Fort Worth public courses are providing a release to those cooped up inside while remaining socially responsible, given the inherently distant nature of golfing: Golfers are typically hundreds of yards from the next group, and they’re outside in the open air.

As of January, revenues to the Municipal Golf Fund were slightly over the budgeted amount for fiscal year 2021. For the previous fiscal year, which closed in September, there were 135,305 paid rounds at the course, beating budget estimates of 112,257.

Safety protocols, course improvements in place

The Fort Worth courses have taken numerous precautions to ensure the safety of golfers. 

Early responses to the COVID-19 outbreak included closing inside dining, no longer accepting cash, limiting cart rentals to one rider and closing restrooms and the driving range. Eventually, prepackaged food items and call-in food service were offered. A new amenity, GolfNow, provides an online tee time reservations platform.

“Social distancing and the safety practices we put in place played a big role in our success,” Lewis said. “First, golf was one of very few options for entertainment and activities. Second, players felt safe on our courses.”

At the same time, capital improvements continue to help the local courses keep pace with the competition.

Construction on a new clubhouse at Rockwood Park Golf Course began in 2020. The project is scheduled to be completed this spring with a grand opening shortly after. Amenities will include a larger pro shop, multipurpose meeting room, lower-level cart storage, outdoor patios and new snack shop and grill.

Other capital improvements underway or recently completed across the network include a new pump station at Meadowbrook, replacing carpet at the Meadowbrook clubhouse and renovating bunkers at Pecan Valley. Pecan Valley River course will also undergo tee box renovations that should be completed by the end of April.

Lewis said he expects the increased activity at the courses to continue for a number of reasons: “Our courses are in better shape than they have been, and we continue to make major improvements. We think the people who were either from out of town or were reintroduced to the game will continue to play our courses. There are still very few entertainment options due to the pandemic. And we have stepped up our marketing efforts for Fort Worth Golf.”

Learn more about the golf courses.